Breastfeeding Warnings

Is Sulpiride an Effective Option for Boosting Breast Milk Production?

Milk production in women, or lactation, is a remarkable biological process intricately linked to nurturing and nourishing infants. It’s a complex interplay of hormonal changes and physiological adaptations that occur during pregnancy and after childbirth. These processes are orchestrated by various hormones, primarily prolactin and oxytocin, which play pivotal roles in ensuring the well-being and sustenance of the newborn.

Prolactin, a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, acts as the conductor of this symphony. It stimulates the mammary glands within the breast tissue, prompting them to produce and secrete milk. This crucial hormone, under the influence of other hormones like estrogen and progesterone, initiates the transformation of the breast tissue into a milk-producing powerhouse.

But the production of milk is not a static process; it evolves and adapts to the changing needs of the growing infant. Initially, the mother produces colostrum, a special form of milk rich in antibodies and essential nutrients. This “liquid gold” serves as the baby’s first immunization, bolstering their immune system and providing vital nourishment.

As the days and weeks progress, the composition of breast milk undergoes a fascinating transformation. It adjusts to the infant’s nutritional requirements, providing the perfect blend of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and micronutrients necessary for healthy growth and development. This dynamic ability of breast milk to adapt to the baby’s needs is one of its most remarkable features.

The quantity of milk produced is not predetermined but rather a finely tuned response to various factors. The primary factor influencing milk production is the baby’s demand. When the infant suckles at the breast, it sends signals to the mother’s body, triggering the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” plays a pivotal role in milk ejection. It causes the muscles around the milk-producing cells to contract, squeezing milk into the ducts, making it available for the baby.

However, despite the intricacies of this process, some breastfeeding mothers may face the challenge of inadequate milk production. Insufficient breast milk supply is a common problem in 60–90% of women in low- and middle-income countries. Several factors can contribute to this concern.

1.        Insufficient Glandular Tissue: In some cases, women may have less glandular tissue in their breasts, which can limit the milk-producing capacity.

2.        Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal fluctuations can disrupt the delicate balance required for milk production. This may be due to issues with the thyroid gland or other hormonal disorders.

3.        Stress: High levels of stress can interfere with lactation. Stress hormones can inhibit the release of prolactin and interfere with the let-down reflex, reducing milk supply.

4.        Inadequate Nutrition: A mother’s diet and overall nutritional status can impact milk production. Ensuring proper nourishment is essential for adequate milk supply.

5.        Medications and Medical Conditions: Certain medications and medical conditions can affect milk production. It’s crucial for nursing mothers to consult with healthcare professionals when taking medications or managing health conditions.

Addressing inadequate milk production requires a thoughtful and individualized approach. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant can help identify the underlying causes and develop strategies to improve milk supply.

What is Sulpiride?

Sulpiride also known and marketed under the brand names Dogmatil, Dolmatil, Eglonyl, Espiride, Modal, Prometar, Equilid and Sulpor is an atypical antipsychotic medication primarily prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. It acts on neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, to help alleviate the symptoms of these conditions. Additionally, sulpiride may find use in managing mood disorders like bipolar disorder and severe depression, often as an adjunct to other medications. Its prokinetic properties also make it useful in certain gastrointestinal conditions, particularly gastroparesis, where it aids in the movement of the gastrointestinal tract. Some countries may employ sulpiride for alleviating nausea and vomiting in select cases.

Can sulpiride boost breast milk production?

Yes, studies have shown that sulpiride can increase breast-milk yields but it is not typically used to boost breast milk production, and it is not considered a standard treatment for this purpose.

Sulpiride is not approved for commercial distribution within the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it is employed as a galactogogue in many countries. While Sulpiride does elevate serum prolactin levels, its effectiveness and how long it takes to increase breast milk production is a matter of uncertainty in clinical practice.

While some other medications and herbs are known to potentially increase milk supply in lactating women, sulpiride is primarily an antipsychotic medication, and its use for increasing breast milk production is not a recognized medical indication.

If a breastfeeding mother is experiencing concerns about low milk supply, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant. They can provide guidance on evidence-based methods for increasing milk supply, which may include:

1.        Frequent Nursing: Encouraging the baby to breastfeed more often can stimulate increased milk production.

2.        Proper Latch: Ensuring that the baby has a good latch during breastfeeding can help maximize milk transfer and stimulate milk production.

3.        Pumping: Using a breast pump between nursing sessions may help stimulate milk production and build up a milk supply.

4.        Hydration and Nutrition: Staying well-hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for milk production.

5.        Skin-to-Skin Contact: Spending time with the baby in skin-to-skin contact can help with bonding and may encourage breastfeeding.

6.        Rest and Reducing Stress: Getting enough rest and minimizing stress can positively impact milk supply.

7.        Lactation Consultation: Consulting with a lactation consultant can provide personalized guidance and support for addressing low milk supply.

In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe medications like domperidone or metoclopramide to increase milk supply. However, these medications are typically considered when other non-pharmacological methods have been tried and have not been effective. The use of any medication to increase milk supply should always be discussed with a healthcare provider who can weigh the potential benefits and risks based on the individual’s specific situation.

It’s essential to prioritize the well-being of both the mother and the baby when addressing concerns about breast milk production and to seek guidance from healthcare professionals with expertise in lactation and breastfeeding.


Christiana Gobina (BPharm)

Pharmacist Christiana holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree (BPharm) from the University of Ilorin. She is a dedicated healthcare professional with passion for Pharmacovigilance and medication safety particularly in underserved communities.

Dr Chinenye Otorkpa

Dr. Chinenye Otorkpa is a Family Physician with a passion for women and children's well-being. She holds a Master's degree in International Public health from Liverpool John Moores University and an active membership in the World Association of Family Physicians (WONCA). She combines her medical expertise and global network connections to provide holistic healthcare.
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